If you’re anything like me, you probably have other things going on outside of writing. Sad, right? 😊 Just kidding. We need balance, too. We can’t just live in our happy (or sometimes, not so happy) fictional worlds forever. Be it work, school, family, church – life – it all takes up time. And sometimes, balancing writing with the rest of your life can be difficult.
My semester’s been chugging along for about seven weeks, and while it’s not as hectic as prior semesters have been (thank the Lord!), it’s still a definite change from my editing extravaganza of the summer. So I’m still working on my writing schedule, but here are a few tips on writing in the midst of a busy life. 🙂
Schedule a time to write.
Have a time when you’re committed to writing. So maybe that’s at the end of the day for an hour when your kids are in bed or you’ve finished your homework. I find it really helpful to section off part of my day (usually in the evening) and try to keep that as my usual writing time. This doesn’t have to be every day, though, so maybe it’s just a couple days a week when you have a free hour.
However … be flexible.
When you have open time you usually wouldn’t, use that to your advantage. I personally write best in the afternoon/evenings. Mornings just don’t get the creative juices flowing in my brain. But if I’ve planned out my day and see I have an hour without homework or classes in the morning, I like to work on blog posts (like this one.) So take those spare hours when you can!
All of writing isn’t sitting at your laptop.
Work out some plot holes in your mind. Take out a piece of paper and write down ideas. Brainstorming is so much fun! (At least when it comes easily.) However, please be aware of things you’re doing during this time, like if you’re driving or something. But on that note, I used to be really good at this plotting/fretting/dreaming, especially when I worked a restaurant job that included a lot of cleaning and work I didn’t have to really think about. So as long as it’s safe to let your mind wander, you can get some pre-writing in (or post-writing if you’re trying to fix a pesky scene.)
Don’t wait to feel “inspired.”
This one can be really hard, especially at the end of a long day. But just write. After a day of homework, sometimes I don’t feel like writing. It’s about the last thing I want to do. However, simply writing is success. It’s practice. It’s like the times I haven’t wanted to practice an instrument, but I still made myself do it. Was it the best practice session ever? No. Was it tons of fun? No. But I was still bettering my abilities. I was still repeating motions over and over, building them into my muscle memory. It’s the same with writing, although writing is more mental than physical practice. But in the end, you’re getting practice and making progress, even if you don’t feel as if you’ve written the best scene in the world or utilized the best wording.
Accept that you might not write as much as before (or as you’d like.) Therefore, projects might take longer.
My debut novel, Unknown, was finished in a summer (the editing portion.) The first round of edits was complete in a month. This book I’m working on currently has taken twice that time—two months for the first round of edits, and it’s still a mess. And you know what? That’s okay. You have other things going on in your life, and if you just go in realizing that, you’ll keep yourself from setting too high of expectations and be able to set realistic expectations that can still challenge you.
Take a break.
Sometimes you have to push yourself just to sit down and write. And other times, you’re completely burned out and exhausted. Taking a break is okay, too! You might just need to sit on the couch, drink some tea, and read a book instead of pounding out words on the keyboard. Sometimes just taking a couple days off helps things immensely. Also, sleeping helps, too. 😊 The Lord told us to work and to rest for a reason.
Finally, surrender your days to the Lord.
The Lord has given you all the hours you need, and when you work hard and trust Him, He will make sure everything turns out just fine. It’s a wise thing to pray over that to-do list and trust the Lord to provide for what He’s called us to. Nothing He calls us to do is impossible with Him.
What are some of your favorite tips for writing with a busy schedule?